• Your name
  • What you’re doing in Boston
  • Answer: can you name the five levels of church organizational structure?

Breakout Questions 1

  • Do you believe we have the best church structure? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe that it is important to be a part of, informed about, and financially supporting the official organizational structure of the Seventh-day Adventist church? Why or why not?

Unity Document

Last summer the church voted on whether Divisions could decide for themselves on the question of Women’s ordination. The church voted no, Divisions can’t decide. Some unions decided on their own anyway. A few weeks ago, certain committees of the General Conference, in anticipation of Annual Council, started to draft some documents to address the issue of the unions that are not following this policy. The following documents were released:

These documents caused some concern, and a revised document was proposed:

Breakout Questions 2

  • 291 of the 315 delegates representing our global church voted on the revised document, with 169 in favor and 122 against. (It passed.) How do you feel about this document? Would you have voted for it or against it? How come?
  • Do you believe it is important to have unity in matters of policy? Why or why not?
  • In the study that led to this document, Ellen White is quoted as saying:

“I have been shown that no man's judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any one man. But when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon the earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered.” — Testimonies For The Church, Vol. 3 page 492 (1975)

A few years later, however, she also said:

“As for the voice of the General Conference, there is no voice from God through that body that is reliable.” — Manuscript Releases, Vol. 17, 178 (1895)


“The voice from Battle Creek, which has been regarded as authority in counseling how the work should be done, is no longer the voice of God.” — Manuscript Releases, Vol. 17, 185 (1896)


“It has been some years since I have considered the General Conference as the voice of God.” — Manuscript Releases, Vol. 17, 216 (1898)

Can we or should we appeal to Ellen White on this matter? And if so, how can we do that responsibly?

  • What should people, churches, conferences, unions, or divisions do if they don’t believe that the decisions of the world church are guided by the holy spirit?
  • Do you think these issues about policy are important? Why or why not?